This week has been crazy. My last P-Day in Altoona was bittersweet.
The Neuders took us out to lunch. We got Sushi. haha it was good.
After that we took Cooper and Collin, two youth from the ward, lazer
tagging with us. We played 4 rounds and then hit each other with
bumper cars at the "Slinky Fun Zone." I got some awesome pictures.
I'll send them to ya eventually. That night we had a lesson with Katy
and Roger. It was sad saying goodbye. Katy asked me to baptize her on
August 25th, and now I can't do it. Ah well. She gave me a nice card
saying thank you for teaching her the gospel and changing her life. It
was really nice.
Elder Harrison kept joking with me the whole transfer about how I was
going to be the new AP. The whole transfer I felt like I was just on
an exchange and I wouldn't be in Altoona for long. I never felt like I
fit there with the Ward and with everything that was going on, though
I knew I was supposed to be there for important events. I think I
mentioned some of them in my last letter. When the call came it just
kind of confirmed and explained the feelings that I'd been having my
whole time in Altoona. I was super nervous and full of self doubt.
President Topham asked me, "So Elder Collier, how are you feeling?" I
said, "Stressed out, president." He said, "You? Stressed out? It can't
be! I've never heard of such a thing!" hahaha as you can tell, he was
being sarcastic. He just laughed at me and walked away. I love him.
He's so funny.
Elder Harrison and I got up super early on Tuesday morning to drive to
Pittsburgh. We got caught in a crazy rainstorm. The rain was coming
down so hard the windshield wipers couldn't clear it fast enough. We
almost had to pull over. It was super dangerous. All the cars were
only going like 15 miles an hour on the freeway. I felt bad for the
poor guy riding his tractor next to us. haha no umbrella or jacket or
anything. He was soaked. Luckily we made it safely.
I bought an awesome CD from Deseret Book on Monday. It's the "Pretty
Darn Funny" soundtrack. It's really well done. "Pretty Darn Funny" is
a webseries Deseret Book has created. We probably shouldn't have, but
Elder Harrison and I watched the first two episodes. It's absolutely
hilarious. I think you and dad would love it. It's similar to Modern
family. It's got that awkward sense of humor we all love. Just google
it or something. Give it a try and let me know how you like it. The
music from the show is really uplifting and just all around catchy and
After transfer meeting, we helped load up the trailer with all the
luggage for the departing missionaries. It's cool how everything has
come full circle on my mission. Tyson was there at my first transfer
meeting. It was such a blessing to see a familiar friend when I was
coming out. I also got to be at his last transfer meeting and to say
goodbye to him. It was great. We took all their stuff to the mission
home and ate dinner with them and the Tophams. It was a lot of fun.
After that Elder Gerratt and I went to try and contact a referral.
Someone had asked for a Book of Mormon on the internet but was super
sketchy about their request. They said, "Please don't knock on my
door... my parents might realize I'm into religion and freak out at
me. Just leave it in the mailbox or something." It was super sketch.
But they weren't home, so we walked next door and talked to this lady.
She originally told us to go away, but then I complimented her on her
dog (which reminded me of silverado) and she let me play with it. Then
we just had a good talk about life and she gave us water and invited
us back for tomorrow night. Her name is Cindy. She originally did't
want to talk to us because she'd just gotten home from the hospital
(she works as a nurse) and was really tired. But we were really nice
and weren't what she was expecting, so she was glad. haha. She said it
was enjoyable talking with us.
Wednesday was crazy. We had to get up early and be at the mission home
for the departing breakfast by 7:00 AM. Then we had to drive everyone
to the airport and say goodbye. It was tough saying goodbye to Tyson.
I hope he's doing well! He's so awesome. Elders out here just love
him. He trained like 4 different missionaries, including my friend
Elder Wallentine. He did a great job. Anyway, you wanna hear something
crazy? I'm eventually going to have to learn how to drive and back a
giant truck with a trailer on the back... maybe I'm lacking faith in
God, but I don't think that's a good idea putting me in charge of
driving a trailer in Pittsburgh after 2 car accidents... hahaha!
We did a lot of office work after that. Had to do reports and stuff
until about noon. Then we went with Brother Whiting who just moved in
to the ward (he knows spanish!) to teach the Carnedas family. Guille,
the mom, is way in to the Book of Mormon. The kids speak English, but
Guille, who is from Ecuador, doesn't speak English at all. So Brother
Whiting and Elder Gerratt taught her in Spanish. I was getting really
good at Spanish by the end of my senior year and kept reading the Book
of Mormon in Spanish on occasion before I came out, so I can
understand what they say. I just can't speak it fluently. I haven't
been around Spanish for a year. But my background helped me to be able
to follow the lesson in Spanish and then teach the kids in English
when they had a question. It was cool. Jose, her son, is my age.
Tatiana is 18, and Estella is 16. They are such a solid family. It was
a lot of fun!
Something super crazy happened after that! haha Elder Gerratt told me
we were going to visit Nick and Jessica, two of our investigators, but
first we were going to stop by and see a potential. As we got out of
the car and headed up the steps of the front porch, he said, "Ok, so
this guy is super sketchy, but he said we could come back. Just be
careful." We knocked on the door, and we heard a tired, strung out
voice say, "Whoizzit?!" The door was slightly open and I could see a
guy laying on his face on the couch inside. I said, "It's the
missionaries! You said we could come back?" He said, "Awright, jus
come in already!" So we opened the door and came inside. He told us to
sit down and then just laid there for a little bit. It was super
awkward. Elder Gerratt tried to make small talk but the guy wasn't
responsive. Eventually Elder Gerratt said, "Well, this may be a weird
question, but could I use your bathroom?" The guy said yeah, it was up
the stairs. So Elder Gerratt left me alone with this guy. I tried
making small talk, but he wasn't responsive to me either. Finally I
said, "So, do you think it would be okay for me and my companion to
teach you about the gospel when he gets back down?" He sat up and
said, "Yeah, sure... hold on. Lemme go put my guns away." He stood up,
and he had a glock in each pocket and was holding a Barretta. He
stretched and I was like, holy crap, I hope those don't go off! haha!
Then he started walking up the stairs and inside I was panicking,
going, "Oh crap. Oh crap. He's going to go shoot my companion!" So I
slowly followed him upstairs. Elder Gerratt came out of the bathroom
and I asked if I could use it. I just figured I'd let Elder Gerratt
deal with it. haha!
So I went in to the bathroom and shut the door. Then I heard Elder
Gerratt and the guy laughing. When I came out, the guy had put the
guns in his case and he turned to me and said, "So, how bad did I
scare you? Was it up to a 7 on a scale from 1-10? Elder Gerratt told
me to scare you to a 7, but I'm not sure it worked." hahaha!
Apparently the guy was Nick, one of our investigators, and Elder
Gerratt and him had set the whole thing up. I said, "Probably a 7. You
only made me cry and curl up in a fetal position a little bit." They
thought that was funny. Nick is super cool. Apparently when he first
started meeting with missionaries, he had a loaded gun on him because
he wasn't sure if they were legit or not. He thought they were going
to rob him or something. haha.
Nick and Jessica are so amazing. They started meeting with Elders like
3 months ago and have totally changed their lives around. They used to
be addicted to hardcore drugs, but now they're completely clean. They
used to not be religious at all, but now they come to church every
Sunday. Nick used to not be able to read, but now they have prayer
together and read scriptures every night, and he can read perfectly.
They've seen so many miracles. Nick is such a funny and witty guy, and
he and Jessica, his wife, have such strong testimonies. We are working
with them on quitting smoking. It's going well. They have a date set
for baptism and are working towards it and are going to the temple
this saturday for a tour of the grounds. I'm so proud of them. It's
been such a blessing getting to know them.
They came to scripture class that night. It was a lot of fun. Elder
Green taught it for the last time. He and Sister Green left for home
today. He let me know about you calling the office. I got your note by
the way. They set it on my desk. haha. He's such a cool guy. I like
him a lot.
I absolutely love serving here. The members here are so awesome. A lot
of them are returned missionaries from South America, so when Luis
(Guille's husband) took his daughters to church on Sunday everyone
just came up to them and spoke fluently with him. It made him feel
super welcome. A returned missionary from chile spoke on sunday and it
was really good. The Eves and the Whitings are two awesome families
here. Both speak spanish, and both had us over for dinner this week.
On Friday we had a lesson in President's home with the Tophams and
Nick and Jessica. It was really good. After that president took us to
Robert Morris University. Elder Gerratt had to speak at a youth
conference. It was fun. I got to meet Sister Dalton, who also spoke.
The youth conference had 10 stakes, and there were over 1,000 kids
there. They set it up to be like an EFY, so everyone came and roomed
at the university for the week. I got to see pretty much every youth
from every area I've served in. I also got to see Collin and Cooper.
They said, "Hey elder collier! Long time no see!" it was funny. We had
a super awkward experience though, because Elder Gerratt ran into a
girl he dated before his mission at Utah State. Apparently she lives
in Pittsburgh and was a counselor for the conference. It was funny.
Elder Gerratt was panicking.
We taught an English class to Guille and her family saturday night.
It's taught me spanish. It's coming back to me. Elder Gerratt and I
speak with each other all the time and I'm getting really good.
This week was so awesome. I'm going to love it here.
Just a heads up, if anyone ever wants to send me anything, just send
it to the mission office. Packages and letters just get put on my
Hope you have a great week!